Belfast Telegraph

Veteran MP launches bid with attack on Sinn Fein
McGrady to defend seat

31 January 2005

South Down MP Eddie McGrady has been reselected to defend his seat at the next general election.

His candidacy was confirmed at a selection meeting in the Donard Hotel in Newcastle last night.

Last year there had been suggestions that the 69-year-old might retire, but Mr McGrady allowed his name to go forward for nomination this week.

The general election is expected to take place in May.

Mr McGrady, who has held South Down since 1987, launched his candidacy with an attack on Sinn Fein. Catriona Ruane of Sinn Fein will be his main opponent.

"People are getting tired of Sinn Fein going into and coming out of meetings lecturing everybody about their mandate," said Mr McGrady.

"The reality is that they have abused their mandate. The Irish people voted for the Agreement, for progress, for peace.

"No nationalist voted for armed robberies, kidnappings and punishment beatings.

Yet sadly that is what we are getting - and it is ripping the life out of the Good Friday Agreement.

"That's why many are now wondering if Sinn Fein wants the Agreement at all - or whether they are only interested in their own political development North and South."

Mr McGrady added: "Sinn Fein promised at the time of the elections that they would get the Agreement implemented, win change and put manners on the DUP.

"But what has happened since? Despite warnings from the SDLP - which stood strong for the Good Friday Agreement - Sinn Fein agreed a new so-called "agreement" with the DUP that gave Ian Paisley new vetoes over nationalists.

"Then the IRA carried out a bank raid that played right into the hands of the DUP. The result? We are left with suspension, direct misrule and no progress whatsoever on the North South agenda - and the DUP comes out laughing."

He said continued IRA activity is "wrecking the Agreement".

"Instead of Sinn Fein lecturing everybody on Sinn Fein's mandate, they need to get serious about the mandate that the Irish people gave the Good Friday Agreement," the MP continued.

Mr McGrady holds a majority of almost 14,000.

But Sinn Fein has built up their share of the vote from from 15% in the 1998 Assembly election to 26% in 2003.

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